Project SUE: Highly automated autonomous bus for local public transport

Improved flexibility and convenience are two key aspects of making local public transport more attractive, for example with a better-connected network and more frequent services. One promising approach to achieving this goal is low-cost shuttle vehicles without drivers. The Fraunhofer EMFT is contributing to the development of a prototype for such an autonomous people mover as part of the SUE (Self-driving Urban E-Shuttle) funding project. It is designed to combine high flexibility with passenger comfort, making it a valid alternative to the car.

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SUE is featured by an innovative and appealing design, high driving performance, flexible adaptation to requirements, efficient size and weight. In order to meet the highest safety standards, all safety-relevant aspects have been equipped with comprehensive redundancies. The project consortium led by Uedelhoven GmbH & Co. KG combines expertise from vehicle design, drive technology, battery technology, autonomous driving algorithms and sensor technology for vehicle development and is also supported by other partners in the areas of approval capability and user-friendliness.

The focus of Fraunhofer EMFT's work is on developing a robust primary localization concept by combining various redundant localization methods. In addition, the Munich researchers are designing an RFID-based solution for vehicle localization in which the current vehicle position is derived from RFID tags in the form of previously placed landmarks.

From the end of 2024, the highly automated People Mover will transport passengers from the train station to nearby health resorts or shopping facilities on public transport in the district of Kelheim. Unlike similar projects in the past, particular attention is being paid to achieving the highest possible average travel speed in order to offer users real added value.

With vehicles such as the SUE, the development team aims to increase the attractiveness of public transport with the help of reliable, autonomous and cost-effective shuttle services, especially in rural areas. Smaller communities could also benefit from this concept and realize less frequented connections that would be unprofitable with conventional public transport connections.

SUE is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection under grant number 19A21047D.

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